Friday, February 04, 2011

And even more of us...

Suddenly become uninsurable. The rapid advancement of genetic testing has bioethicists in a quandary.
There are lots of different answers to Pence’s question, why test for incurable diseases like Alzheimer’s disease? Now that the tests are becoming available, researchers can identify people who are at higher risk of falling ill earlier, and enroll them in studies to uncover how the disease progresses. This will also allow scientists to enroll subjects in clinical trials earlier for new drugs aimed at preventing the disease.
Testing is not just about therapy. People can also use the information to help plan their futures. Perhaps they will drop out of the corporate grind and become Caribbean sailing captains. Or they will arrange their affairs so that they can receive good care when they do fall ill. Of course, some people really may not want to know. In which case, they are perfectly free to not take the tests. The only people who seem especially overwrought and unable to handle the results of genetic testing are bioethicists. [More]
I find interesting the intellectual debate over whether to tell patients of bad test results, but still think the problem will be dwarfed by the larger issue of making the individual health care market virtually non-existent, should health care reform be dismantled. The thinking the status quo was good enough ignored some unsustainable trends, not only in health outcomes and costs, but mostly in coverage.

It appears clear that this recovery will not be providing great jobs with full coverage, and the trend for workers even with insurance to pick up more of the tab will dampen wage growth and the economy for the foreseeable future.

We may reach the tipping point of shrinking coverage faster than we thought unless "repealers" begin to ponder how fast traditional insurance is failing the population.

No comments: